The Truth About Cars » Congress http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 02 Aug 2015 16:00:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Congress http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/congress-news-blog/ Senate Committee Approves Bill to Help Detroit Make Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-approves-bill-help-detroit-make-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-approves-bill-help-detroit-make-hybrids/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 21:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129497 A U.S. Senate committee for transportation passed along a bill Thursday that included provisions to help domestic automakers develop and build cleaner vehicles, the Detroit News is reporting. The proposal, dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, was included in a larger clean energy bill taken up by the committee. The Vehicle Innovation Act would set aside […]

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A U.S. Senate committee for transportation passed along a bill Thursday that included provisions to help domestic automakers develop and build cleaner vehicles, the Detroit News is reporting.

The proposal, dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, was included in a larger clean energy bill taken up by the committee. The Vehicle Innovation Act would set aside $313.6 million next year for research and development of hybrid technology, battery development and alternative fuels such as natural gas. Funding would increase by 4 percent every year up to 2020.

Nearly all major U.S. automotive lobbies representing manufacturers supported the proposal.

The proposal, which will now head to the Senate, faces an extremely difficult future. The bipartisan bill, which was sponsored by Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Michigan Democrat Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, may be a long shot in the Republican-controlled House — if it makes it that far.

Separately, a bill that Peters introduced that would allow states to use highway funding to help advance road-to-vehicle communications, passed the Senate as part of a larger transportation package. The bill, called the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Technology Investment Flexibility Act of 2015 says what it does and does what it says will be part of the Senate’s larger 6-year highway funding package.

Along with the Vehicle Innovation Act, the “smart road” provision and larger funding bill won’t be taken up by the House anytime soon. Congress is working toward a 3-month stopgap measure and will take up the larger spending packages after its August recess.

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Fiat Chrysler May Have to Take Back 1.5M Defective Jeeps, Rams http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125729 In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps . The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million […]

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FCA US LLC HQ WTFBBQ

In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps .

The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million penalty, $20 million set aside for meeting safety standards dictated by the federal bureau and an additional $15 million in penalties if an independent monitor discovers further safety violations.

The record ruling comes after the agency said FCA botched recalls of more than 11 million vehicles for wide ranging issues, including Jeep models with rear gas tanks that could catch fire in rear collisions. The issue has been linked to more than 50 deaths. 

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind scolded the automaker in a statement Monday announcing the fine.

“Fiat Chrysler’s pattern of poor performance put millions of its customers, and the driving public, at risk,” he said. “This action will provide relief to owners of defective vehicles, will help improve recall performance throughout the auto industry, and gives Fiat Chrysler the opportunity to embrace a proactive safety culture.”

According to a statement by the automaker, Jeep owners who haven’t yet complied with their recall could get a $100 gift card to bring their vehicle into a dealer. Owners of defective Jeep models would also be eligible to trade in their vehicle for $1,000 above fair market value.

In addition to the Jeep fix, FCA will attempt to purchase or fix for free Ram trucks or Chrysler SUVs with a suspension defect that could cause the car to lose control. FCA could resell those fixed cars.

The automaker will have to submit to independent monitoring of its recalls for the next three years, with NHTSA being able to extend that agreement further for an additional year.

Last week, FCA announced it would be recalling 1.4 million cars for a security vulnerability that could allow hackers to remotely take control of a vehicle.

Read the ruling here.

The vehicles that may be eligible for repurchase are:

• 2009-2012 Ram 1500s

• 2008-2012 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4, Ram 2500 4×4, 3500 4×4, 4500 4×4, 4500 4×4

• 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango

• 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota

The vehicles that may be eligible for a $100 gift card for dealer inspection or $1,000 over market value for trade-in are:

• 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

• 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty

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Senate Committee Says Rental Cars Must Have Recall Repairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-says-rental-cars-must-have-recall-repairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-says-rental-cars-must-have-recall-repairs/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1117929 U.S. rental cars will need to comply with open recalls before being driven off the lots, a U.S. Senate panel decided Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. The measure was an about-face from an earlier proposal backed by automakers, consumer groups and some rental car companies, which would have allowed rental cars with known defects to continue to be […]

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US Senate Wing of the Capitol

U.S. rental cars will need to comply with open recalls before being driven off the lots, a U.S. Senate panel decided Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.

The measure was an about-face from an earlier proposal backed by automakers, consumer groups and some rental car companies, which would have allowed rental cars with known defects to continue to be driven, as long as those defects were disclosed to consumers. NHTSA asked lawmakers to consider the proposal on pulling defective cars off the road in February.

The bill’s opponents said the revised amendment could harm consumers by filling dealerships with rental cars waiting to be repaired.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said preventing rental car companies from issuing cars with known defects would ultimately be safer for drivers.

“When consumers and families drive a rental car off the lot, they should be able to do so with the confidence that car is safe to drive, and we’re one step closer to that peace of mind today,” she said, according to Bloomberg.

The amendment is part of a much larger, comprehensive bill that tackles automakers’ recalls and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ability to fine or penalize car companies.

The embattled bill, which was proposed by Republicans this month, would double the existing $35 million cap on fines for automakers and extra federal money for vehicle safety measures. Democrats opposed the larger measure, saying it didn’t go far enough. Democrats have introduced a much larger reform measure which would include a recall warning light for new cars.

 

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Report: Hummer Recall Only Happened After NHTSA Threatened GM http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-hummer-recall-happened-nhtsa-threatened-gm/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-hummer-recall-happened-nhtsa-threatened-gm/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115425 Jalopnik has an interesting story today about how General Motors negotiated its way into recalling 200,000 Hummers only after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration threatened to launch a formal investigation. Last week, Hummer recalled nearly 200,000 SUVs due to an increased fire risk because of a faulty HVAC harness that could melt and catch fire. GM knew about the problem […]

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Hummer H3. Photo courtesy wikipedia.org

Jalopnik has an interesting story today about how General Motors negotiated its way into recalling 200,000 Hummers only after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration threatened to launch a formal investigation.

Last week, Hummer recalled nearly 200,000 SUVs due to an increased fire risk because of a faulty HVAC harness that could melt and catch fire.

GM knew about the problem in 2008, Jalopnik writes, and did nothing until issuing a recall this July.

The story details a growing schism between NHTSA and automakers, who’ve been accused of having a cozy relationship before.

Officials at GM presented NHTSA officials with their accounting of the increased fire risk in Hummer H3 and H3T models in January. When federal officials audited the numbers later, they discovered a larger number of incidents than what GM may have reported.

According to Jalopnik, federal safety officials gave GM an ultimatum in June: recall or risk a federal investigation. GM issued a recall notice on July 9.

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Obama’s New Overtime Rules May Hit Dealers Particularly Hard http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/obamas-new-overtime-rules-may-hit-dealers-particularly-hard/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/obamas-new-overtime-rules-may-hit-dealers-particularly-hard/#comments Sun, 12 Jul 2015 17:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113673 Car dealerships may be forced to pay some of their employees more under new overtime rules proposed by President Barack Obama, Automotive News is reporting. The proposed overhaul for employees who make less than $50,000 a year could impact dealers who make a significant portion of their earnings from salary, rather than commission. The suggested overtime rules […]

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Barack Obama + Connected Vehicles

Car dealerships may be forced to pay some of their employees more under new overtime rules proposed by President Barack Obama, Automotive News is reporting.

The proposed overhaul for employees who make less than $50,000 a year could impact dealers who make a significant portion of their earnings from salary, rather than commission.

The suggested overtime rules would apply to roughly 40 percent of the American workforce, rather than the 8 percent the current rules apply to now. The Department of Labor estimates more than 5 million workers would be covered by the new rules.

Douglas Greenhaus, an attorney for the National Automobile Dealers Association, told Automotive News that the new rules would apply to mostly support workers in dealerships. Mechanics, service managers or sales staff likely wouldn’t be effected.

“This would impact those who get the majority of their pay from salary,” Greenhaus said.

The changes would raise the overtime threshold from $23,660 annually to $50,440. The federal poverty line for a family of four is $24,008.

Dealers may cut pay for workers who fall under the new guidelines, Greenhaus said. The NADA would analyze the new rules and lobby the administration based on what dealers may want.

“The important thing is to maintain as much as possible the flexibility for the employer and employee on how to compensate,” Greenhaus said.

The public comment period for the new overtime rules ends Sept. 4.

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Former NHTSA Boss Blocked From Testifying in Toyota Case http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/former-nhtsa-boss-blocked-testifying-toyota-case/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/former-nhtsa-boss-blocked-testifying-toyota-case/#comments Sun, 12 Jul 2015 15:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113617 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is blocking former chief David Strickland from testifying in a California civil lawsuit for Toyota on issues regarding its push-button start systems in some of its cars. According to the Detroit News, NHTSA officials told lawyers in a letter that Strickland would be barred from testifying in the case as an […]

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All you need is love. Strickland. Picture courtesy detnews.comThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is blocking former chief David Strickland from testifying in a California civil lawsuit for Toyota on issues regarding its push-button start systems in some of its cars.

According to the Detroit News, NHTSA officials told lawyers in a letter that Strickland would be barred from testifying in the case as an expert witness.

“The agency has been roundly criticized for its relationship with Toyota in terms of recent enforcement actions, particularly regarding unintended acceleration,” NHTSA’s lawyer wrote in the letter. “Given this history, Mr. Strickland’s testimony as a former NHTSA administrator describing Toyota’s actions or conduct in this matter with approval, will likely diminish the agency’s ability to pursue a vigorous enforcement review of Toyota moving forward.”

Congress has said NHTSA wasn’t tough enough on Toyota when it looked into issues that its push-button start system could leave cars running without the keys present.

Toyota said it asked Strickland to testify on general matters in the lawsuit, but the agency barring the former administrator to testify is being praised as a harder line for what people say is a too-familiar relationship between former safety officials and automakers.

“For too long there has been a revolving door at NHTSA which allowed former NHTSA employees to seek lucrative employment with the same auto manufacturers they had at one time been charged with regulating,” Christine Spagnoli, a lawyer for the owners suing Toyota, told the Detroit News. “Hopefully, the denial of Mr. Strickland’s request to testify on behalf of Toyota is a sign that the new administrator recognizes that these historically cozy relationships between agency employees and the companies they are charged with regulating often results in undermining public trust.”

After leaving NHTSA in 2014, Strickland joined a Washington D.C.-based law firm that has also represented Fiat Chrysler. Former NHTSA officials are not allowed to directly lobby for automakers for two years after leaving the safety administration.

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Senate Bill Proposes Recall Warning Light on Your Dash http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-bills-propose-sweeping-reforms-nhtsa-recall-policies/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-bills-propose-sweeping-reforms-nhtsa-recall-policies/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 22:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113297   Two proposals for reforms to how the U.S. handles safety recalls and penalizes automakers are winding through a Senate committee. A proposal backed by three Senate Democrats would make automakers include a recall warning light in the dashboard of new cars to notify owners of a safety recall and lift the cap on delayed recall […]

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A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch

 

Two proposals for reforms to how the U.S. handles safety recalls and penalizes automakers are winding through a Senate committee.

A proposal backed by three Senate Democrats would make automakers include a recall warning light in the dashboard of new cars to notify owners of a safety recall and lift the cap on delayed recall fines and more. A less-aggressive proposal put forward by Republicans would require dealers to notify owners if their cars have been recalled, something most automakers already do but aren’t required by law.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 25 percent of recalls are never completed.

The Democrat-backed bill may not have life beyond headlines, however. Included in the bill were sweeping proposals to empower NHTSA to expedite recalls, charge and prosecute auto executives for fatal safety flaws and grant NHTSA special investigative powers, according to the Detroit News.

The larger proposal would also require new- and used-car dealers to apply all recalls to vehicles before they’re sold. Currently, dealers are only required to perform recall fixes on cars that haven’t been sold yet.

Some of the measures may have legs beyond the bill’s demise, however. The Democrat proposal includes making mandatory crash avoidance systems and allow NHTSA to investigate people who hack vehicle electronics that could “endanger public safety.”

The Democrat proposal also lifts the 10-year cap on automakers’ responsibilities to pay for or fix defects in their cars. The Republican proposal doesn’t lift that cap.

The recall reforms are partly due to extremely public, and extremely embarrassing, recall issues with General Motors and airbag maker Takata.

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FCA Awaits NHTSA’s Wrath After Recall Hearings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fca-awaits-nhtsas-wrath-recall-hearings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fca-awaits-nhtsas-wrath-recall-hearings/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107233 Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took the unusual step of hauling a single automaker to the Capitol to scold Fiat Chrysler for delays in recalls and repairs. The hearing is ahead of anticipated fines NHTSA may deal later this month, possibly as high as $700 million. Attention was focused on Jeep Liberties and Grand […]

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1999 Grand Cherokee Launch-12

Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took the unusual step of hauling a single automaker to the Capitol to scold Fiat Chrysler for delays in recalls and repairs. The hearing is ahead of anticipated fines NHTSA may deal later this month, possibly as high as $700 million.

Attention was focused on Jeep Liberties and Grand Cherokees with rear-mounted gas tanks that could leak fuel if struck in a high-speed rear collision and potentially catch fire. Also of importance is the rate at which Jeep notified its owners of the recall.

FCA’s Senior Vice President for Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance Scott Kunselman said at the hearing that FCA “could have done better in carrying out the campaigns.”


Owners of Grand Cherokees and Liberty SUVs had trailer hitches installed on their cars that could protect in low- to moderate-speed impact collisions. Eric Mayne, a spokesman for FCA, said that NHTSA tested the trailer hitches and found them to perform similarly to their peers.

A Massachusetts father testified at the hearing, saying his 17-year-old son was killed when the Grand Cherokee he was driving was struck and ignited. The issue has been linked to more than 50 deaths.

A second recall was recently issued for faulty wiring that could disable airbags.

NHTSA “tentatively concluded” FCA didn’t address the recalls in time, or adequately. Despite issuing a recall in June 2013, NHTSA said only 23 percent of the cars had been fixed by the end of April. FCA said that figure is now around 33 percent.

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US House Resolution Would Allow Factory-Direct Turnkey Replica Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-house-resolution-would-allow-factory-direct-turnkey-replica-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-house-resolution-would-allow-factory-direct-turnkey-replica-vehicles/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1091529 Has the thought of assembling a replica vehicle put you off of buying one? Thanks to Congress, you may soon be able to buy a factory-direct turnkey model. U.S. House Resolution 2675 — the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015″ — is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Representatives Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and […]

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Factory Five Mk4 Roadster

Has the thought of assembling a replica vehicle put you off of buying one? Thanks to Congress, you may soon be able to buy a factory-direct turnkey model.

U.S. House Resolution 2675 — the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015″ — is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Representatives Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Gene Green of Texas. According to Autoblog, the resolution would grant low-volume vehicle manufacturers — those producing no more than 500 units per year — the right to sell their wares direct from the factory with no assembly required, instead of only shipping them as kits to their customers as occurs now.

Though the vehicles would still need to follow safety and environmental standards as set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, those standards would be applied separately from high-volume manufacturers.

HR 2675 was introduced last week, and will arrive before the House Energy and Commerce Committee at a yet-to-be-determined date.

[Photo credit: Factory Five Racing/Facebook]

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Rosekind Will Give Prepared Statement Before Congress Over Funding Concerns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/rosekind-will-give-prepared-statement-before-congress-over-funding-concerns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/rosekind-will-give-prepared-statement-before-congress-over-funding-concerns/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 18:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082161 Testifying before Congress Tuesday, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind will give a statement on his agency’s need for funding to properly function. Rosekind’s statement is one among those given by the witnesses called upon by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to testify during its hearing over airbag supplier Takata and the safety […]

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Mark Rosekind At Work With The NTSB Circa January 2015

Testifying before Congress Tuesday, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind will give a statement on his agency’s need for funding to properly function.

Rosekind’s statement is one among those given by the witnesses called upon by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to testify during its hearing over airbag supplier Takata and the safety issues surrounding the supplier’s airbags, Reuters reports.

His prepared statement will address the NHTSA’s analysis of the data from its investigation into Takata, as well as the aforementioned budget concerns his agency faces. Of the latter, Rosekind said the agency’s budget is, when adjusted for inflation, 23 percent lower than a decade ago, making the agency’s work difficult as technology pushes forward.

[Photo credit: U.S. Department of Transportation/Facebook]

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US Senate Approves Industry Whistleblower Bill http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/us-senate-approves-industry-whistleblower-bill/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/us-senate-approves-industry-whistleblower-bill/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 19:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056442 Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved a whistleblower bill that would incentivize those in the auto industry to blow the whistle on potential safety problems. The Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act would give the U.S. Secretary of Transportation the discretion to award whistleblowers up to 30 percent of the total monetary penalties levied by the transportation […]

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US Senate Wing of the Capitol

Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved a whistleblower bill that would incentivize those in the auto industry to blow the whistle on potential safety problems.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act would give the U.S. Secretary of Transportation the discretion to award whistleblowers up to 30 percent of the total monetary penalties levied by the transportation or justice departments that total a minimum of $1 million, The Detroit News reports.

The bill would cover all employees and contractors working at automakers, suppliers or dealerships, and take into account “original information” on product defects and other safety issues the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn’t know about previously, the information’s significance, and whether the whistleblower did everything they could to let the employer know prior to blowing the whistle.

Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune of South Dakota and panelist Bill Nelson of Florida both praised the Senate’s decision to pass the whistleblower bill by unanimous vote, noting that it would reward those in the industry for presenting safety issues before anyone is killed or injured as a result of industry inaction. The bill now goes on to the House, where House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton of Michigan repeatedly stated that auto safety-related bills have yet to be addressed this year.

[Photo credit: Ron Cogswell/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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NHTSA To Gain Broader Powers Upon Transportation Bill Approval http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nhtsa-gain-broader-powers-upon-transportation-bill-approval/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nhtsa-gain-broader-powers-upon-transportation-bill-approval/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033457 A transportation bill sent to Congress Monday would grant the NHTSA the authority to stop automakers from selling vehicles with dangerous safety problems. Automotive News reports the bill — the $478-billion, six-year Grow America Act penned by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx — would give the agency “imminent hazard authority” to ground vehicles “in cases […]

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NHTSA-logo-large

A transportation bill sent to Congress Monday would grant the NHTSA the authority to stop automakers from selling vehicles with dangerous safety problems.

Automotive News reports the bill — the $478-billion, six-year Grow America Act penned by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx — would give the agency “imminent hazard authority” to ground vehicles “in cases where there is an imminent risk of injury or death,” which would be used before a determining a problem exists, and without input from the affected automaker or supplier.

The bill also triples the funding and doubles the staffing for the NHTSA, increases the fine it can levy from $35 million to $300 million; introduces a pilot program to improve the recall process on the owner’s end; requires dealers to check for recalls every time a vehicle comes in for servicing; and mandates that all used and rental vehicles with open recalls to be repaired before sale or rental.

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House Republicans Gunning For End Of Auto Technology Loan Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/house-republicans-gunning-end-auto-technology-loan-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/house-republicans-gunning-end-auto-technology-loan-program/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025721 Should Republicans in the U.S. House have their way, the loan program meant to foster development of advanced automotive technologies would be killed. The Detroit News reports the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which issued loans between its establishment in 2008 and the last fulfilled request in 2011 to companies like Tesla, Nissan […]

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US Rep Tom Price with Republican Members of US House Budget Committee

Should Republicans in the U.S. House have their way, the loan program meant to foster development of advanced automotive technologies would be killed.

The Detroit News reports the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which issued loans between its establishment in 2008 and the last fulfilled request in 2011 to companies like Tesla, Nissan and Ford, would see the remaining $16.5 billion be rescinded as part of the House Budget Committee’s budget proposal:

The budget rescinds all unobligated balances from the president’s stimulus green energy programs. The government cannot recover taxpayer dollars from failed projects like Solyndra, but it can protect taxpayers from being on the hook for future boondoggles.

Said “boondoggles” include the aforementioned solar panel startup Solyndra ($536 million received; failed in 2011), Fisker ($529 million; now under new ownership), and Vehicle Production Group ($50 million received; U.S. Department of Energy sold the loan to AM General for $3 million). On the other hand, Ford ($5.9 billion), Nissan ($1.4 billion) and Tesla ($465 million) have done well with their loans, with Tesla paying off its loan nine years early.

The effort to kill the program has been ongoing since the collapse of Solyndra, but until now, the House Republicans haven’t had support from the Senate. Now under Republican control, however, Congress could do away with the program barring a veto from President Barack Obama.

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Feinstein-Toomey Bill Seeks To Push Other Biofuels Over Corn Ethanol http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017954 With one attempt shot down thus far, two U.S. senators are issuing a standalone bill to reduce the use of corn-based ethanol at the pump. According to Hemmings Daily, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would call for a modification of the […]

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E10 + 100 Percent Gasoline at the Pump

With one attempt shot down thus far, two U.S. senators are issuing a standalone bill to reduce the use of corn-based ethanol at the pump.

According to Hemmings Daily, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would call for a modification of the Renewable Fuel Standard that would push other biofuels, such as biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, over corn-based ethanol. Feinstein explains:

Our infrastructure has a ceiling for the amount of corn ethanol that can be used, and we’re rapidly approaching it. Companies are physically unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for many gas stations and older automobiles.

The Feinstein/Toomey bill joins four others seeking similar action, including three in Pennsylvania, Oregon and Hawaii that would seek to eliminate the mandate of E10 sales altogether.

Meanwhile, ethanol supporters like the Renewable Fuel Association, the National Corn Growers Association and the Advanced Ethanol Council oppose the bill as an assault on the RFS, and call upon the Environmental Protection Agency to increase ethanol use further, despite the EPA’s acknowledgment regarding the limits to blending ethanol with gasoline.

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Whistleblower Incentive Legislation Passes US Senate Panel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/whistleblower-incentive-legislation-passes-us-senate-panel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/whistleblower-incentive-legislation-passes-us-senate-panel/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009314 A whistleblower bill that would grant financial incentives to auto industry employees who expose safety defects won backing by a U.S. Senate panel Thursday. Reuters reports the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted 13-0 in favor of sending the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, though when the vote would come has […]

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United States Capitol

A whistleblower bill that would grant financial incentives to auto industry employees who expose safety defects won backing by a U.S. Senate panel Thursday.

Reuters reports the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted 13-0 in favor of sending the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, though when the vote would come has yet to be determined, per an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Once voted and approved on the floor, however, the bill would go forward to the U.S. House for their vote.

The legislation would give employees and contractors for automakers, suppliers and dealerships up to 30 percent of any penalties resulting from a federal enforcement action totalling over $1 million, but only if said employees “shared original information on product defects or reporting violations” with either the Transportation or Justice departments.

The panel vote comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began fining airbag supplier Takata $14,000/day for failing to cooperate in the agency’s investigation into the supplier’s airbag inflators linked to at least six fatalities and several injuries.

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NHTSA To Congress: Pull Recalled Used, Rental Vehicles Off The Road http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006322 The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being […]

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Rental Car Corridor - SeaTac International Airport

The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being repaired; current legislation only asks of such things for new vehicles prior to sale.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that “requiring rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before renting is a common-sense solution” that would improve road safety. Foxx adds that Congress should follow the lead of both safety advocates and the rental-car industry in taking a stand on the issue.

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Congress Unsure On NHTSA Funding Increase http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/congress-unsure-nhtsa-funding-increase/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/congress-unsure-nhtsa-funding-increase/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994242 Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says funding is needed to boost staffing, some in Congress aren’t so sure on the proposal. The Detroit News reports the proposal, part of President Barack Obama’s FY 2016 budget plan, would triple the NHTSA’s funding from $10.7 million to $31 million, helping to boost the total staff […]

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United States Capitol

Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says funding is needed to boost staffing, some in Congress aren’t so sure on the proposal.

The Detroit News reports the proposal, part of President Barack Obama’s FY 2016 budget plan, would triple the NHTSA’s funding from $10.7 million to $31 million, helping to boost the total staff of the agency’s Office of Defects Investigation to over 100 employees. Chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, isn’t sure such an increase is necessary, however:

We think there are ways too that you could reform and accomplish some things (without higher funding). Clearly, we want to work with them, but it’s going to be tough in this budgetary environment with all the constraints that we’re dealing with to get significant increases in funding for any agency.

Thune adds that the NHTSA’s mission “is a awfully important one,” and wants to ensure the agency can do the job expected of it. Meanwhile, Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Bill Nelson of Florida both praised the increase in the agency’s budget, though McCaskill wants to see more done still. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut adds that Congress should heed the call for a larger staff, and provide the NHTSA with “the most robust possible resources.”

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Obama Budget Proposes Tax On Corporate Foreign Earnings For Roads http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/obama-budget-proposes-tax-corporate-foreign-earnings-roads/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/obama-budget-proposes-tax-corporate-foreign-earnings-roads/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992842 President Barack Obama unveiled his annual budget Monday, which includes a proposition to tax corporate foreign earnings to fund the nation’s roads. Vox reports the proposal would levy a one-time tax on 14 percent of foreign earnings held by U.S. corporations, pulling in $238 billion to help supplement taxes collected at the pump. The collected […]

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Syracuse Road Construction - Utah DOT

President Barack Obama unveiled his annual budget Monday, which includes a proposition to tax corporate foreign earnings to fund the nation’s roads.

Vox reports the proposal would levy a one-time tax on 14 percent of foreign earnings held by U.S. corporations, pulling in $238 billion to help supplement taxes collected at the pump. The collected taxes would then be distributed into road infrastructure projects at a rate of $79.7 billion per year over the next six years, totalling $478 billion.

Meanwhile, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Barbara Boxer of California have both offered a “repatriation holiday” to said corporations, giving the latter a tax rate of 6.75 percent over five years on foreign earnings brought back to the United States. The taxes would then go into those projects.

However, such holidays have been frowned upon by Obama over his two terms, warning that corporations would lobby Congress for more tax holidays; the Joint Committee on Taxation found such holidays would lose money over a decade despite the short-term gain.

Another option, proposed by Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, would tax corporate foreign earnings at a rate of 8.75 percent while ending deferrals. The bill would collect $170 billion to be spent on roads for six years.

Whatever happens, a decision would have to be made within the next few months. The U.S. Highway Trust Fund will go empty once again if nothing is done by May 31 of this year, forcing Congress to make do with the gas taxes collected. Since most people are driving less and using more fuel-efficient vehicles to get around these days, those taxes — which haven’t been raised above 18.4 cents/gallon since 1993 — fall short of the $50 billion per year needed for infrastructure; the current rate is of collection is $34 billion/year.

Two options have been proposed to fix the main issue — increase the gas tax and then pegging it to inflation, or expand drilling on federal lands and collecting the royalties — but neither option is popular among most in the Beltway.

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OEMs Delay Vehicle Alert Sounds For Pedestrians On EVs, Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/oems-delay-vehicle-alert-sounds-pedestrians-evs-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/oems-delay-vehicle-alert-sounds-pedestrians-evs-hybrids/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992458 As quiet as electric vehicles and hybrids are, plans to make them noisy for the benefit of pedestrians et al have been delayed until 2018. Edmunds reports accidents involving pedestrians climbed 6 percent in 2012 over the previous year, totaling 76,000 injuries and 4,743 deaths. Though EVs and hybrids only account for less than 2 […]

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As quiet as electric vehicles and hybrids are, plans to make them noisy for the benefit of pedestrians et al have been delayed until 2018.

Edmunds reports accidents involving pedestrians climbed 6 percent in 2012 over the previous year, totaling 76,000 injuries and 4,743 deaths. Though EVs and hybrids only account for less than 2 percent of all vehicles traversing the United States, were they equipped with engine sound technology — and were the percentage to increase to a projected 4 percent in 2016 — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 2,790 fewer accidents with pedestrians would result.

To help introduce the technology in all EVs and hybrids, Congress enacted the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in January 2011, which mandates the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop standards for automakers to use in implementing “recognizable” sounds meant to alert pedestrians that a vehicle is approaching when the vehicle is moving down the road at 18 mph or less. The full power of the act would have come into play three years after the final rule is passed down, but delays in getting to that point — the result of comments by automakers and industry groups — have pushed the mandate to September 2018.

Meanwhile, a handful of automakers have moved ahead with implementing their versions of the safety system. Nissan has the Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians on its Leaf, while Chevrolet has a driver-operated noise onboard the Volt. However, the sounds don’t always resemble that of the ICE; Fisker’s Karma, for example, pulls its alert from Tron light-cycles and Motorola Droids, while the Kia Soul EV is waving its light saber in front of a field of crickets. Most manufacturers, though, are sitting out the PSEA until they know what the final rule will say on the matter.

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General Motors Sticking To Filing Deadline Despite Calls For Extension http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-sticking-filing-deadline-despite-calls-extension/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-sticking-filing-deadline-despite-calls-extension/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989986 Despite a request from two senators to extend the deadline for its compensation fund, General Motors will still close the filing window this Saturday. Automotive News reports Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts sent a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra urging her to extend the deadline for filing claims linked […]

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GM ignition diagram

Despite a request from two senators to extend the deadline for its compensation fund, General Motors will still close the filing window this Saturday.

Automotive News reports Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts sent a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra urging her to extend the deadline for filing claims linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall, citing a Justice Department investigation into whether or not the automaker broke any laws in handling the issue, as well as a pending federal court decision that could strip GM of its bankruptcy protections established in 2009.

The senators add that notification problems are also an issue, with some claimants never hearing about the fund until another source informs them, such as when the family of Jean Averill — one of the first 13 fatalities linked to the defective part — were notified by The New York Times while working on the story about her last November.

GM, however, says it “conducted extensive outreach about the program,” having contacted over 5 million past and present owners of vehicles affected by the recall, including the Saturn Ion, Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac Solstice:

Our goal is to be just and timely in compensating the families who lost loved ones and those who suffered physical injury. We previously extended the deadline until January 31, and we do not plan another extension.

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Toyota Marketing Mirai With $8K Hydrogen Credit Despite Expiration http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-marketing-mirai-8k-hydrogen-credit-despite-expiration/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-marketing-mirai-8k-hydrogen-credit-despite-expiration/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989970 Despite the recent expiration of the $8,000 federal credit for hydrogen vehicles, Toyota is still marketing its Mirai as if it never happened. Autoblog reports that Toyota is well-aware of the expiration, and is calling upon both houses of Congress to reinstate the credit. Were that to occur, the $57,500 MSRP on the Mirai would […]

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Despite the recent expiration of the $8,000 federal credit for hydrogen vehicles, Toyota is still marketing its Mirai as if it never happened.

Autoblog reports that Toyota is well-aware of the expiration, and is calling upon both houses of Congress to reinstate the credit. Were that to occur, the $57,500 MSRP on the Mirai would fall to $49,500. Other state and local credits would drop the price further, as well; California customers would pay just $44,500 for their FCVs, for example.

The problem, per the automaker’s energy and regulatory affairs director Robert Wimmer, is predicting where the tax process would go:

The two challenges we have now are that both houses of Congress are Republican and also that there has been talk for a while about comprehensive tax reform. If that moves forward, then extenders would probably be put on the back burner as comprehensive tax reform is discussed.

Even if the credit was reinstated, it may only last as long as year or two instead of the three years Toyota wants for the first-gen Mirai. The automaker has been lobbying Congress to act, though Wimmer could not say to what extent.

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113th US Congress Leaves $8K Hydrogen Credit On The Table http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/113th-us-congress-leaves-8k-hydrogen-credit-table/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/113th-us-congress-leaves-8k-hydrogen-credit-table/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964370 For the few who will be purchasing a Toyota Mirai in 2015, you may be out of luck as far as tax savings are concerned. For now, anyway. Autoblog reports the 113th U.S. Congress has called it a day without renewing an $8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles entered into service after December 31, 2005, […]

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For the few who will be purchasing a Toyota Mirai in 2015, you may be out of luck as far as tax savings are concerned. For now, anyway.

Autoblog reports the 113th U.S. Congress has called it a day without renewing an $8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles entered into service after December 31, 2005, and purchased before the same date in 2014. The credit is among other credits that didn’t get the once-over from Congress, who were busy looking over — and renewing a few of — credits from 2013.

That said, Honda wants the credit brought back in time for its FCV’s U.S. showroom arrival in 2016, the next concept version of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show January. Robert Beinefeld, assistant vice president of the automaker’s Environment and Energy Policy, says his employer is working with “many partners on the legislative front to address this situation,” in the belief that legisators don’t intentionally pick “winners and losers by providing tax credits to some technologies and not others.”

As for Hyundai, whose Tucson Fuel Cell entered Californian showrooms earlier this summer, a representative didn’t give any further comment on the hydrogen credit as of this writing.

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Shimizu: Takata Hasn’t Found The Cause Of Airbag Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955722 Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls. Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That […]

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Shimizu, Takata's Senior Vice President for global quality assurance, testifies before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington

Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls.

Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That said, Shimizu said his company was of “the strong opinion that (there) is a factor contributing to this defect: which is high humidity, temperature and the life of the product.” He also claimed the ammonium nitrate used in the airbags was safe and stable, though he admitted replacements weren’t coming fast enough.

Meanwhile, competitor Autoliv announced it would supply replacements to Honda for vehicles in the United States. The automaker had mentioned before Congress it was in talks with the supplier and another, Daicel, regarding expanded production to replace modules in a nationwide recall. Autoliv will add capacity in its existing plants, with deliveries to come after six months.

Among the other affected automakers, Chrysler, Toyota and Mazda have stepped up their individual recall efforts. AutoGuide says the subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has called back 149,150 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 models from the 2003 model year, covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated the move wasn’t enough, and is looking at what action to take next.

Over in Japan, Bloomberg reports Toyota is recalling 190,000 affected vehicles in its local market and in China. The recall comes on the news of a catastrophic detonation at a junkyard of a Takata airbag inside a 2003 WiLL Cypha; the detonation was part of the procedures outlined by Japan’s Automobile Recycling Law, which also requires dismantlers to report any problem to the automaker to determine if a recall is necessary.

Finally, The Detroit News says Mazda is recalling 40,000 more vehicles — including the 2003-2007 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX-8, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6, 2004-2005 MPV and 2004 B-Series — in Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Alabama. The automaker previously recalled 44,000 units in the U.S. and 2,600 in Puerto Rico.

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Takata Faces Forced Recall After Defying NHTSA Order http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-faces-forced-recall-defying-nhtsa-order/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-faces-forced-recall-defying-nhtsa-order/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955385 Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter. Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less […]

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Takata

Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter.

Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less of a factor in the catastrophic failures than previously proclaimed by Takata, adding that the agency would hire an independent expert within the week to conduct more tests.

Takata claimed in its letter to the NHTSA that a nationwide recall was not necessary, as there wasn’t enough reliable evidence to mandate such an action that would take away from fixing the problem in high-humidity zones, creating needless delays in conducting repairs. The supplier also took the agency to task for not providing enough notice, and that it was already on its way to improving the safety of its products.

Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut encouraged the NHTSA to force Takata into compliance, and to expand the nationwide recall to cover passenger-side airbags as well. Friedman said the agency’s next move would be to force said recall, which could take several weeks or months. He added that he didn’t have a set timetable to bring about the action.

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Takata Refuses NHTSA Call For Nationwide Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955057 Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and […]

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Toyota WiLL Cypha

Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and Toyota and Honda both call for an industry review of Takata’s wares.

The Detroit News reports the supplier informed the NHTSA Wednesday morning that it will not conduct a nationwide recall of vehicles in the United States equipped with driver-side airbags, as requested by the agency in a special order made last week, and whose deadline was December 2. Deputy administrator David Friedman expressed the agency’s disappointment in a statement, lamenting Takata is failing to live up to its responsibility toward keeping drivers safe. Chair and CEO Shigehisa Takada proclaimed in his own statement that his company “remains committed to cooperating closely with our customers and NHTSA to address the potential for inflator rupturing.” An initial decision and public hearing demanding the supplier to recall is the next step for the NHTSA.

Detroit Free Press says Takata called upon former Transportation Secretaries Sam Skinner (George H.W. Bush), Rodney Slater (Bill Clinton) and Norman Mineta (Clinton, George W. Bush) to help guide it through the crisis. Skinner is slated to lead a quality assurance panel to help the supplier better design its airbags, while Slater and Mineta will provide counsel to help it “regain the public’s trust.”

Though the NHTSA is pushing for Takata to recall every driver-side airbag possibly affected by the quality issues at the center of the current regional recall, Automotive News says the agency isn’t in a hurry to do the same for passenger-side airbags. Friedman informed the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade in a written statement that such a recall “is not supported by the data as we now understand it. At this point, a national recall of all Takata air bags would divert replacement air bags from areas where they are clearly needed, putting lives at risk.” That said, if the supplier’s test data proves otherwise, the agency may demand a recall for those airbags, as well.

Over in Japan, a Takata airbag exploded in a 2003 Toyota WiLL Cypha at the Chikamatsu Shokai Co. scrapyard in the Gifu prefecture. Manager Akihiro Wakayama was caught off-guard by the explosion, as the car in question was not among the models already under recall:

I was surprised once again because the unusual explosion occurred in a vehicle that we were told to be safe. That made me think we really don’t know what we can trust to do our work safely.

The WiLL Cypha’s airbag detonation marks the seventh occurrence of junkyard detonations in Japan since June 2012, with the first six occurring among four Honda Fit and two Toyota Corolla models in July of that year. The incidences prior to the Cypha’s — all occurring during detonation procedures as prescribed by the nation’s Automotive Recycling Law prior to scrapping — led to an additional 3 million units being recalled globally.

Speaking of Toyota and Honda, The Detroit News says the two Japanese automakers are calling for a coordinated effort among the entire industry to independently test Takata’s airbags for defects. Both companies issued separate statements to Takata and eight other manufacturers — including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors — asking them to commit to the effort. Ford said it would heed Toyota’s call, with Chrysler Group proclaiming it would “remain committed to identifying the root cause” of the malfunctions, and GM taking the call “under NHTSA guidance.”

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